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Palestinian president in hospital for 'minor' operation

RFI 2018-05-15 16:24:13
Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas scratches his head during a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 22, 2018 AFP

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas went to hospital on Tuesday to undergo "minor surgery" on his ear, official media reported.

Abbas arrived at a hospital near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank for the operation and was due to be released "in a few hours", the official news agency Wafa said.

The health of the 83-year-old longtime smoker is a topic of regular speculation, with no clear successor identified.

In February he underwent what was then described as routine medical tests in the United States.

In recent months he has cut off all ties with President Donald Trump's administration after the announcement the US would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move its embassy there.

Abbas won presidential elections in 2005 but his Fatah party lost parliamentary polls to Islamists Hamas the following year.

It set off tensions between them that escalated into a 2007 near civil war as Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip.

Elections have not been held since and Abbas has remained in power in the West Bank despite his term expiring in 2009.